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Olalekan Daniel Kehinde: Becoming The Man My Father Was


when mama led me here she sang lullabies of whispers
like they were rehearsed masculine lines for a boy like me

to soothe my griefs, & once some weightless winds said:
“beat the track & don’t let your griefs reach the finish line”

when mama led me here she lent me ears wise as hers
& a left palm, old & fertile like her wrinkled hands with veins

rooted beneath her flesh, where planted words didn’t die:
“don’t die in your griefs; they’ll bury laughter in their cheeks”

when mama led me here it was papa who took my hand
while I led him to the place where my griefs plundered me

but he went & came with waters of words to wet the griefs:
“you are a man; carry them like a worn cross-crown & smile”



my body
became a graph
where wipes plotted
curves & thick lines
that grew in length,
each for the “no’s”
i stabbed air with.

i starred
the painful points
where those lines
kissed like lovers
& had a naked blade
blot out the lingering
hate that still breathed.

Poems © Olalekan Daniel Kehinde
Photo by Steve Shreve on Unsplash (modified)

Olalekan Daniel Kehinde
Olalekan Daniel Kehinde
is a poet, essayist and storyteller. He has contributed to anthologies by Poets In Nigerian (PIN) and has works in The Peace Exhibits Journal and the 2020 Nigerian Students Poetry Prize (NSPP) anthology, The House That Built Me. He is a joint-winner of the May, June 2020 and October PIN 10-Day Poetry Challenge respectively, a finalist of 2020 NSPP and author of the top essay of the National Students Write Hack 2020. He is also a shortlist in PIN Food Poetry Contest (PFPC) 2020. Some of his works are yet to be published by other publications. Olalekan is currently a student of English and Literature (Education) at the University of Benin (UNIBEN). He loves to read and teach English Language. He writes from Ogun State, Nigeria.


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